Now I bet you all think I’m going to tell you about my bowchicicawowow life. Right? Well you’re wrong lol.
I’m going to tell you about my relationship with Romance books. The good. The bad. What authors I love and why, and the ones that hate and will never read again.
My love of reading began very early, before I was a teenager. I loved all the normal girlie books; Sweet Valley High and such. Then I moved on to the scary, with no in between. I loved John Saul and Stephen King. And then life happened. School. University. A baby and a career. By the time I was in my mid 20’s I was married with kids and was lucky enough to be a stay at home mom with my second child. And then life threw me a curve. My baby started kindergarten. I found myself sitting outside his school crying for hours. On the second day I dropped him off I took my hubby’s advice and found something to do for the 7hrs and 10min he was at school.
I took myself to the only bookstore in town and met a dear friend. She looked at me and gasped. “What happened?” She asked. With my swollen face and blotchy eyes, I must’ve looked like I felt. Awful. Then she pointed me to the “Romance” section and recommended I read what she called “A light read.” The book she handed me was by Diana Palmer and was called Carrera’s Bride.
By the time I picked my baby up, I had finished the book. And she was right. It took my mind off of the fact that my baby was at school for 7hrs and 10Min. But then I had another problem…What was I going to do the next day? It was going to be Wednesday and I had 3 days left to get through. My hubby suggested I go buy a few more lol.
That’s when my addiction began and hasn’t stopped since. But the types of books I loved didn’t necessarily change from straight “Romance”. It evolved. I still love ANYTHING DIANA PALMER (don’t judge me). But then my dealer…aka…Suzy…introduced me to Lora Leigh. I laughed when I read the back of the book called Loving Lies. It had a warning label that read “Must be 17 or older”. That’s when I fell in love with erotic romance. From there I graduated to paranormal romance, historical romance, and Diana Palmer hehehe.
Once I found an author I loved I had to have every book she had written, even if I had to order them, or go to ebay and buy them. Several years later my addiction hadn’t waned, it seemed to get worse as I was reading a book a day that cost anywhere from $7.99-$24.99. And then I heard about conferences that authors had for us avid readers. How did I hear about this wonderful event that I was sure was created just for me you ask (and if you didn’t then I’m still going to tell you anyway) I had joined Lora Leigh’s mailing list. I opened this pamphlet that was inviting ME (snicker) to her event RAW.
I did what any addict would do and invited my dealer to go with me. What? She sells books for heaven’s sake. I wasn’t corrupting her.
That was the first time I got to actually see the people who had saved my sanity and child from home-schooling. I seriously had “fan girl” moments when I first spied Lora Leigh. By the time the book signing occurred on Sunday, my squealing had calmed to a low squeak and small jittery bounce. I had brought several books from home to have signed by a couple authors who were there, plus bought a huge stack at the bookstore they provided.
That’s when I found my first author I will never read again. You heard me right. I actually loved this author. Bought every book she had written, even backlist ones. Why did I decide I’d never buy another book from this woman? It’s simple really…She was a first class beotch. She acted like it was a chore to be there and sign our books. She didn’t want to discuss anything with us. Basically you waited in line, anticipating the moment you can get up there and explain which book or series of hers is your favorite. And then she looks at you with disdain. Gives you an eye-roll and scribbles her signature on your treasured book that you had brought all the way from home. That was over 6 years ago, and I’ve never bought another book of hers. Even though she had a series I loved.
I can honestly say there have only been 2 authors I’ve met who were not nice. One was mentioned above and the other was a lady I had never read, but did win one of her books and thought to have her sign it. Walking up to the table she sat behind with the book in hand, only to have her tell me she wouldn’t sign because I didn’t buy it. Yep! You guessed it. She was now the beotch #2 that I would never read. I tried giving the book away, but nobody wanted it lol.
Of course the first author is still a really good writer (I assume) and the second I haven’t really heard much about. So I’m sure they are not aware I don’t read them, but I can guarantee I’ve told all my friends about both experiences. And I’m pretty sure none of my friends read either author either.
The best thing that came out of that conference though was meeting other women who share a love for all things romance. At Lora leigh’s RAW I met a group of ladies who we now call ourselves “RAW Bitches”. Each of us was given a bitch name and by the next conference had shirts made with our bitch name on the front and the saying I’m famous for using “Bless Their Hearts”. After I had blessed a few unfortunate souls, and had to explain to the women what it meant, they all decided it would be our motto hehehe…
Since that first conference I’ve attended at least one a year, meeting up with my bitch friends, and meeting new authors and fellow readers. Many of each, I can now call really good friends. As a whole almost every author I have had the pleasure to meet has been wonderful. There have been writers that I’ve met who I had never read, but because they were so awesome, I picked up their book and usually add them to my must buy list. The list of authors I love have grown to mammoth size, but I wouldn’t trade my addiction.
Reading Romance books, from erotic, paranormal, historical, western and anything in-between as long as it’s got an HEA (happily ever after) I will read it. Books saved my sanity and gave me comfort when I was going through chemo.
The reason I love Romance books is because it’s an escape from everyday life. I don’t want to read a book that tells about real life where people are miserable and face death. I know life is not all sunshine and rainbows. Hello I’m a woman that has been alive for 30+ years (not saying 40) and from my own life experience I know that reality isn’t always good. But I can open a book, or now an ereader, and always know at the end, I’ll have my happily ever after. With larger than life men who are rich and wonderful and think the heroine is the best thing since sliced bread even if they aren’t perfect woman. Since I’m far from perfect, I love to read about women who might have flaws, but can still attract the most gorgeous and well endowed men in the world. And sometimes said woman actually attracts more than one man, creating a ménage, and all three have an HEA at the end.
You may have noticed I wrote “well endowed” above…That’s because every good romance book has the hero or heroes who are sporting more than 8” in their pants lmao. I’m a woman who has been married to a man a few years my junior (my 18yr old daughter says I’m a puma since he’s not 10 years younger) for over 15 years. My hubby is a wonderful man and makes me very happy. He is in no way inferior to the heroes in my books and I believe he enjoys my books almost as much as I. Not that he has ever read one, but he gets the benefit of me after I’ve read one of my books. He calls it “lady porn” and I’m okay with that. Before I got an ereader he would tell people that he could open any book that I read and within three turns of pages he would find a sex scene. And yes he could.
My love of reading romance has grown and changed over the years. I go through stages where I like to read a certain genre, buying anything with shifters, or vampires, or cowboys. But the element that never changes is the HEA. I don’t like to read a book that is all about SEX. I have to have a plot and story to go with the SEX. I also love suspense in my books, something that keeps me on the edge of my seat. And I love series. This gives me my favorite author fix and lets me visit a world the author created again and again.
I have favorite books that I have read and re-read several times. And every year that list gets longer and longer. But if I ever met that author and she wasn’t a nice person, I would throw that and every other book she has written away. Never to be bought again. I understand authors are real people and have good days and bad. But if I have flown hundreds of miles, paid hundreds of dollars, and taken the time to come and meet them, I expect them to be nice and cordial. They don’t have to gush and tell me thanks a thousand times. Just be polite and accept the adoration that is their due, but not expect the adoration as their due. Luckily I’ve only encountered that a couple times.
Most of the authors I’ve met have been more than friendly. They seemed to truly enjoy meeting us readers and wanted to sit and talk about the books that we all love. Had I not attended the conferences and got the chance to meet some of these wonderful ladies, I may never have found their books and fell in love with their writing.
The main reason I read Romance in all its many genres is because they all have one key element guaranteed that real life doesn’t…A happily ever after.
I don’t expect an author to kiss my butt when I meet them, just be nice and happy to be there. I know if I was in their shoes, and hopefully I someday will be, I will be more than happy to sign a book.
Things I hate in books: I hate too much description. I do not need to know what color the roses are that climb the fence in the neighbors’ yard and how the vines wrap around the railing three times thanks to the elderly gardener who works diligently as he stops to inhale the fragrant blooms. If you are trying to tell me there is privacy thanks to the fence, then keep it short and sweet. I hate when there are sooo many mistakes like the hero arriving on a Harley motorcycle and leaving shortly thereafter as he climbs into his hummer. I also hate when read a series and then all the sudden after several books into it all the scenes sound alike.
Basically I’m pretty easy to please. As a writer just be nice. Make the hero bigger than life, rich and well endowed. Don’t shove descriptions down my throat. Don’t continually tell me what the people look like. I don’t need to be told a dozen times that the hero has a square chin, or the heroin is perfect or imperfect. Once or twice gives the idea, and I can picture it in my mind. And finally, give me my HEA…